Sunset over Dubrovnik

Why we’re Still Travelling

Back in 2013, travel-starved and weary from the routine of daily life in London, Andrew and I chose to leave the UK to travel the world indefinitely. The decision wasn’t driven solely by a desire to simply see the world, I was also searching for something more: the freedom to create a better way of life. So, has travel enabled us to create our dream lifestyle?

Leaving to travel the world

Our leaving cake back in 2013

Why we Left the UK to Travel in 2013

These words from a post I wrote four years ago, before our journey even began, really encapsulate what I had hoped travel would do for us:

“We want to construct our lives so that they’re full of the things we love most; being together as much as possible, seeing new places and learning new things. I want to take back my time, to write about the things I want to write about, to work in the way I want to, to swim and walk and visit new places, to see Andrew for more than a few hours each evening after work before we go to bed exhausted, ready to start the whole cycle again in the morning… That, I think, is what travel will do for us – it’ll give us the chance to create the kind of life we really want to live.”

Before My Abel Tasman Skydive

Skydiving in New Zealand at the start of our trip

Was I right, has travel allowed us to carve a life we really want to live? Well, almost. I can say with certainty that since I left the UK my life has been a million times more fulfilling and exciting than it used to be. I’ve wandered through Asia, Oceania, the USA and Europe and even made Hanoi, Vietnam, my home for the better part of a year. I volunteered my time in the Philippines and Thailand and learnt how to teach and earn money abroad. I’ve done so many new things: from climbing volcanoes and trekking across rice terraces to kayaking, caving and skydiving.

Hiking in Batad, the Philippines

Trekking in the Philippines

There have been homesick moments, but I feel that in some ways travel has brought me to closer to friends and family. When I visit the UK I now spend chunks of quality time with people instead of the odd snatched weekend I used to squeeze in amongst the routine of daily of life when I lived in London. Family and friends have visited us abroad and we’re set to enjoy some more family holidays this summer. House sitting has also allowed us to stay connected with London and we’ve revisited our favourite city at least once a year since leaving; we get to explore and revel in the delights of the Big Smoke without having to worry about work.

Us eating ice cream on a visit to the UK

Visiting the UK last summer

Tough Times and Getting Back on Track

However, I can’t pretend that it’s all been smooth sailing. For the first few months of this year I battled daily with internal insecurities and fear about our long-term future; I was often crippled with anxiety. I didn’t know how to move forward, I’d never lost my love of travel but I’d somehow stumbled into teaching as a way to fund our lifestyle and it wasn’t right for me. I missed writing but felt that it wasn’t a reliable enough option for making a living. I wasn’t getting on with Spain. Our money was running low. For the first time ever I actually started to question whether we’d done the right thing in leaving our London lives to travel.

Us relaxing on Bottle Beach in Thailand

In love with travel in Thailand

Thankfully, this dark period passed and I can now say that I feel happy and excited for the future. I realise that I had to go through those struggles to learn what we need to do next: build that lifestyle we originally aspired to create when we first left the UK. Once we made that decision it was like we’d found our way back onto our path again. We’re now ready to move back to Thailand in August and become digital nomads; through writing and online teaching we finally hope to achieve the life of freedom we first set out to discover when we left the UK in 2013.

Us at the top of Marjan Park in Split, Croatia

Finding happiness in Croatia

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18 Comments
  • Nomadi
    Posted at 11:58h, 14 July Reply

    Very inspiring! Our routine for the past few years pretty much consists of settling down to work for a year or two, save money, quit and go travelling for a few months and repeat. At the moment we find ourselves in the “waiting-for-the-next-trip” stage which most people consider normal life but on the next trip it would be great to earn some money while on the road. I consider myself a nomad already but to be a digital nomad… well, that’s tempting to say the least. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Amy
      Posted at 07:42h, 15 July Reply

      Hi, thanks for reading and commenting. That ‘waiting-for-the-next-trip’ stage can be so frustrating! We’re really hoping we can make it as digital nomads so that we can have complete freedom. Good luck and happy travels!

  • Stefan
    Posted at 13:35h, 14 July Reply

    I hear ya loud and clear…as we are about to embark our 2nd year of travel ===> Latin America ????

    And to think that that letter you wrote two years ago- that beautiful bit of poetry to London was one massive inspiration for us ?

    • Amy
      Posted at 07:43h, 15 July Reply

      Aw, thanks Stefan! Latin America sounds amazing, we’ll be watching your journey closely because we’re currently thinking that we’ll spend the next year back in Asia and the following in the Americas! Happy travels 🙂

  • Alyson
    Posted at 19:58h, 14 July Reply

    Hello!
    Me again.
    Roll back to when you decided to leave to spend more time together than a couple of hours each evening. Well you got that in the bag, right? ”
    Then think about what it was like for me, with 2 babies that I saw for moments each day.
    It stank.
    So we both made a good choice, we’ve both lived it ad it’s been FREAKING AMAZING!
    Yes there is tough stuff. I’ve just been declared in full menopause by my doc. That’s such a relief, these last 10 years of peri menopause have ben hell. My husband already says I’m a different person. But stillI want to travel, it wasn’t the messed up hormones talking.
    So what was I saying…no idea. Cheers Amy and Andrew and see you soon in Chiang Mai . We rock xxx

    • Amy
      Posted at 07:46h, 15 July Reply

      Yes, we do kinda rock, don’t we?! I bet it was tough for you but look how great things have turned out (I’m glad the doc visit was a relief too). So, Chiang Mai is confirmed then? Awesome news, see you there!

  • Gilda Baxter
    Posted at 08:42h, 17 July Reply

    The only way is forward and you two are forging ahead with very exciting dreams and plans. i am sure you will make a success of whatever life you choose to have. You have already acomplished a lot and have inspired others to follow their dreams. I love following your journey ?

    • Amy
      Posted at 09:01h, 17 July Reply

      Thanks so much Gilda, we’re looking forward to this next stage of the journey and I hope we can carve out our ideal lifestyle. Thanks for following, we appreciate it 🙂

  • Louisa Klimentos
    Posted at 23:28h, 17 July Reply

    Good on you Amy and Andrew .You are now acheiving your dream again .Please keep moving forward because more exciting experiences await for you,love always louisa

    • Amy
      Posted at 07:33h, 18 July Reply

      Thanks Louisa, we really appreciate you following along on our journey 🙂

  • Graham
    Posted at 06:28h, 18 July Reply

    It sometimes feels like we’re on a really similar path to you both. Charlie and I left successful careers in London in 2014 for a life of travel and adventure, and for me at least, an opportunity to work on my own projects (one of which eventually became our website) and craft the life I really wanted – and we’re still working out what that means for us. We also lived in Hanoi for a year, and in fact we’re heading back there next month to work and also be digital nomads. I love reading your adventures and thoughts on travel, particularly because they often seem to mirror our own. At this point we’re more living and working in a succession of cool cities rather than the traditional travel model, and it’s become oddly normal – to the point where it’s no longer fully compensating for how badly we miss some of the home comforts, particularly a friendship group (and boardgames. I am a massive dork for boardgames). If you find yourselves in Hanoi over the next year then please drop us a line, we’d love to hear from you, and the beers will be on us (yes, massively generous of us at 30p a pint).
    Btw, did you check out the awesome digital nomad space in Ko Lanta? It looks awesome, and their accommodation+food+coworking package is pretty reasonable.

    • Amy
      Posted at 07:38h, 18 July Reply

      Hi Graham, thanks for reading and commenting. Yes, it does sound like we’re on similar paths, I’ll be interested to hear about what living in Hanoi as a digital nomad is like; it is such a great city and I’d love to just hang out writing in Joma all day! The only problem I found with Hanoi was the pollution, I guess if we moved out to Tay Ho it would be better. Yes, we too miss having home comforts like a friendship group. We’ll definitely drop you a line if we’re in Hanoi again, we do hope to return, at least for a visit and we’d love to take you up on the beer! I didn’t know about Ko Lanta, I’ll have to check that out.

      • Graham
        Posted at 17:38h, 18 July Reply

        As a digital nomad Hanoi’s pretty awesome – wifi’s decent (much better than Central America, where we are now), there are some great cafes to work all over the city – I just about lived in Joma in Luang Prabang btw – or I just worked in the flat. And there’s a few coworking spaces there, including one in Tay Ho for $60/m. Plus as you already know, living costs are very cheap – it’s a great place to bootstrap. The downside, as you say, is the pollution, plus the noise and traffic – but I could never really dislike a place with bun cha and bia hoi…
        I was writing a post on the Ko Lanta place but then found this existing one http://carly.io/2016/05/25/coworking-island-koh-lanta-kohub-thailand that did a better job that I ever could – it looks incredible, no?
        Looking forward to that beer! We’ll probably be in Hanoi for a year so we do hope you can swing by.

        • Amy
          Posted at 07:52h, 19 July Reply

          Yes, the Ko Lanta place does like amazing! We’ve never been to that island, but it’s on our list. You make living in Hanoi again sound really appealing, hopefully we’ll catch you there on a visit sometime soon 🙂

  • Patti
    Posted at 01:36h, 19 July Reply

    “We’re now ready to move back to Thailand in August and become digital nomads; through writing and online teaching we finally hope to achieve the life of freedom we first set out to discover when we left the UK in 2013.”

    Well done Amy & Andrew!

    • Amy
      Posted at 07:54h, 19 July Reply

      Thanks Patti, not long till we arrive in Thailand now!

  • Ranch Office
    Posted at 16:46h, 18 December Reply

    It’s great that you made up your mind to run away and get a change of scenery. I honestly think there’s no better way to break your daily routine than traveling.

    • Amy
      Posted at 15:12h, 20 December Reply

      Thanks!

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